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AidData and China's Foreign Aid Policy
In the past decade, China has committed at least $75 billion to aid and development in Africa. Since 2000, there has been up to 1,700 projects, and China’s commitment to development in Africa stands as one of the strongest of any donor country. Research in the U.S. has created a large public database of these projects, named AidData, in order to analyze China’s efforts.

While this ongoing data collection could create debate over China’s interests in Africa, it is clear that Chinese engagement in the continent strengthened infrastructure, energy generation, and supply and communications. The ability to measure this aid will allow for transparency in China’s aid processes and strategies. Chinese aid is performed through direct investment “without state involvement and NGO aid” so that there is no middleman and the money can go directly where it is needed. However, this makes it more difficult to track where the money goes, and how it is used.

Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan are the biggest aid recipients, receiving a quarter of a trillion dollars over the past 10 years. As was earlier mentioned, the biggest priority for Chinese aid is infrastructure. This means that empowering women, providing food aid, and creating education systems rank much lower on the priority list. AidData has suggested that because these are areas that the West tends to focus on the most, China has taken a different route.

In spite of this reasoning, according to AidData, China has backed hundreds of health, transport, and agricultural projects. Doctors and teachers have been sent into Africa as well, while African students have been encouraged to study in China. Some insist that China is only interested in the continent for its natural resources, yet it is clear that China is interested in supporting Africa for the future.

– Sarah Rybak

Sources: The Guardian, ONE
Photo: China Daily

USAID to Expand Its Teacher Training Project in Pakistan
The USAID Teacher Education Project in Pakistan has expanded to provide teaching services to every province in the country. This $75 million project has been working since 2011 to modernize Pakistan’s education system. With the help of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC), over 2,600 students have enrolled in 15 universities and 57 colleges across the country. USAID hopes to see this number increase as more teachers emerge from the Teacher Education Program.

In order to reach out to more potential teachers, USAID realized the need to enlarge its program. Not only will the Teacher Education Project offer more locations, it is also giving 1,900 scholarships to students based on merit and financial need.

This higher education program will be implementing suggestions from a study conducted in 2006 that found flaws in Pakistan’s current teacher training system. The study discovered a trend of the government setting unrealistic goals for its education system and then, when it fails to meet those goals, creating new, also idealistic targets that are never reached. By making its goals more realistic, USAID is confident in its ability to improve Pakistan’s education system by producing high quality teachers.

As Pakistan trains more well qualified teachers, the country will begin to experience higher quality of education for its younger students as well. Javaid Laghari, chair of the HEC, is optimistic about Pakistan’s future, “We hope for a good change, when today’s students become tomorrow’s teachers.”

– Mary Penn

Source: UWN
Photo: BarakatNews